7-23-2014 Vanilla Ice Cream Day

I am up entirely too early with entirely too little sleep.
Today my “to-do list” would take about three days to do, but I only have three days left until we leave for Pennsic. It’s the usual “cascade” effect where whatever one hasn’t finished is pushed to the remaining time until any given deadline, and the last days fill up. (so this week I’m using this “brush script font” and hoping that if the page looks full sooner, I won’t feel like saying so much!)
The weather has not been quite as hot, which is a great relief! I am also happy because I have a couple lovely vases of wild flowers on the table. Last Thursday I went over to Lyrion and Raven’s. They’d taken down a tree and Raven, bless him, cut it to stove lengths for us. All we had to do was go pick it up and bring it home. (Sadly, this led to the discovery that the woodshed really needed cleaning before we put anything else into it, and that a hornets nest was being built there.*  Lyrion was also clearing her garden and gave me some “goose neck” flowers. gooseneckThey are still looking good- I guess that means they’re a “cut flower”. We only got a couple of the bee balm/monarda this year. I hope we get more. We also have a lovely batch of black eyed Susans, queen anne’s lace,with gold lilies from our strip of garden.
The second set of hollyhocks has opened- they’re white, so we have red and white and the black didn’t come back. I will have to look for more, I really liked them. The morning glories are beginning to climb, but a wild grape vine has snuck in, and is climbing up by the door, and I’m leaving it there because it’s,at least, growing.We have also have pansies, nasturtium, & purple cone flowers. (The morning glory is up to the bottom of the flagpole.)
We had one dinner with peas from the garden, and one with our swiss chard. The cucumber plants are still only about 6″ tall (beside their support), but we had to get cages for the cherry tomatoes, and we have plenty of lettuces. I think the red kale needs harvesting next.
I am “without car” this week. We dropped Willow’s off last Monday to get inspected, and it needed so much repairs that we weren’t able to trade it out for mine (for it’s pre-Pennsic check-up) until Friday. I hope mine’s OK, but haven’t heard back from Robert yet, which is not a good sign. (I just called- apparently the problem is that Winkle’s lift is not functioning, so they’ve gotten behind- sounds too familiar.) Also, the van was running hot while pulling the trailer to GNEW. Fingers crossed. As I-80 is full of construction we have decided to take the NY Route to Pennsic, but to get to NY we have to cross Hogback, and that could be a problem if the van isn’t well.
So Monday we went down to the “Dragon’s Hoarde” (Wolf E Myrow’s) in Willow’s car. It seems so odd to me that it takes all day. It’s “only” two hours away (four hours right there), and we only spend about 3 hours picking our jewels and checking out, but by the time you add in rest stops and eating, we leave first thing in the morning and don’t get back until past supper. We did get some lovely stuff though. Some flexible filets, bracelets, and some belts with dangly chains I think the dancers will like. I think we’ll sort it into our displays when we get down there.It’s always so nice that they remember us when we only go once a year! Kat and I did hemming or embroidery on the way down. I have still not yet finished the new garb I’ve started.
Over the weekend both Brian and Steve dropped by. Brian helped me fix the problem with the registration form so that maybe people will sign up for Changing Times-Changing Worlds now.  Poor Steve is limping- he has developed “overwork tendonitis” in his feet and has to choose between a brace for the rest of his life or surgery. Ack! We discovered that that he works about 7 minutes from Wolf’s, but our hope that we might meet for lunch didn’t pan out. Brian’s also starting a new job, which means that he’s not going to make it to the war this year. “Next year for sure!” At least it’s with someone he has worked with before and likes; sadly it’s still down in Massachusetts, so bad commute. I fear he may move closer to it and we won’t see him as much.

Back when Pennsic was only a long weekend or single week, the main battles were Saturday and Sunday, and Friday nights we’d have a party Friday night with mead. We are going to try that again this year, although it’ll be problematic. First, we’re switching to Thursday, because there’s nothing on that last weekend but packing, so Friday has become the “Eat it, Drink it, Burn it” night (when we usually have corned beef). We have tried to have gatherings Friday recently, but everyone is always beginning their packing and emptying their own larders. Oh well. So Thursday it is. Of course, Thursday is the day we distribute the prize and slips from the Arastorm’s Merchant Appreciation Award. An advantage is that it’s a pretty dead day, because Wednesday is Midnight Madness. (feh) We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, because in the summer we usually only allow 10 days to brew quick-mead, we either have to brew Friday while packing, or brew at the war- and I’m dubious about being able to keep things sufficiently sterile. If we don’t get enough done today and tomorrow, that could force the point. We’re already going to be brewing Kat’s herbal prescription there (Kirk’s shipping the herbs to Cooper’s Lake.)
What else? Thursday, Willow met some of her friends from the internet (from New Jersey) in Salem. I admire how people make friends through what seems to me correspondence, then go meet each other.  Friday Avi took her out on errands just to get an opportunity for them to get together. She’s back working at Verizon again, we saw her briefly on Sunday when we went over to get me a “new” phone. Actually, we switched my contacts list into an old phone of Willow’s. I just can’t bring myself to feel that spending $10 a month ($120 a year) is worth it to switch to a smart phone, even though “everyone” has one, so presumably they don’t think that’s a lot of money. (They probably don’t think my spending over $100 a month on books is logical either.)

I am practically wallowing in my Anglo-Saxon books. There’s a sad truth that once you get interested in something, you tend to stay interested in it, so while this year I’m doing classes on later Anglo-Saxon Pottery, and Herb Gardens, and the full run of Kings and Queens, (which means I’m looking at things centuries beyond my usual timeframe), I keep getting distracted by other subjects in the books (like coins, just this morning. Now that I know what to look for, I can see so much more in them!). I have given up on my hope to create examples of the various types of later pottery. The one I still may try when I get a chance is one sort that is decorated with applied strips and lozenges of tin foil adhered to the pitcher. Cool! One thing people often forget is that while simple earthenware existed at the same time as the gorgeous metalwork, the chances are not good that they were often used by the same people at the same time, any more than people wearing diamonds are drinking out of dixie cups today.

I’ve also spent too much time on the phone with tech support people. I’m afraid my computer’s disc drive is failing, and now I’m out of warrantee. I probably pushed it over the edge re-adding music since the crash. I don’t know why I don’t call them more often, I tend to think I must be doing something wrong and try to work things out myself, and they usually do something and get things going again.(Oh yes, I remember! it’s because they usually start with “have you turned it on and off again?” because a hard restart fixes most computer problems.They always want you to start with that, which can be frustrating when you’ve already tried it.)
But all the kindle books I’ve been accumulating (mostly free ones) finally loaded- from March 5th! I finally checked because I had actually paid for kindle books to do my research. I’m a bit dubious about “digital” books, they seem so ephemeral, how do you know that you’ll have them next week, month or year? On the other hand, paper books can burn, and ones stored “in the cloud” can’t. But we are showing a lot of faith in them not just deciding that they aren’t going to make them available any more. And you don’t have the problem with collapsing book cases (like the one in my bedroom this week), although if a computer virus got whatever the equivalent of a bookshelf was, you’d be in deep trouble.
I also talked to i-tunes because I couldn’t access some of my songs because I’d gotten them back when I was using the “eternalviper” domain and apparently they can’t consolidate accounts. (That’s where they sent me to Apple, who sent me to… gods! I hate that everything is inter-connected!) There are still a lot of songs on my menu “greyed out”, and I don’t know why, but don’t have the time to investigate.
The “customer service” person I just talked to at the bank was possibly the stupid person with whom I have ever conversed! I actually got so upset that I yelled at her! (That was when she asked for the card number- again -after starting with the number, then my social, my address, my checking account number, the amount of a recent purchase, the number again, but the final straw was when she denied having asked for the credit card number before! And she maintained a monotonous bored tone the whole time- I suppose it’s her way of dealing with the tedium of having to ask those questions(and irate customers). I sure wouldn’t want her job. (I did apologize several times afterwards.) And I got her to put a note on our file saying that we are traveling, so they won’t turn the card off when they see the charges are not here in NH, then tell us that we have to call from our home phone to get it turned back on. (That has happened too many times!)
Did I mention how incredible the girls are? Willow made more herbal stuff this week:”oops ointment”, bug repellant, and bug bite soother, a rush order for Arwen, plus some for us because we keep forgetting to set some aside, she found the roll of canvas and is making a new fly for the Pennsic shop, she found the back store of booklets, so we won’t have to make another huge order when we get to Pennsic, she’s made labels for the herbals (why do they even sell it in three sheet packets). Kat and Willow have taken over the cooking and clean-up in order to keep me on task with the booklets, and offered to help with any sewing they can. Kat’s gone through the first aid kit and mirror box, I have to go to Kat for any computer problems, and she’s very patient with me. She helped me find some Anglo-Saxon fonts again to use on the booklets and handouts. We are getting John to do any heavy lifting, and he is really not happy about being alone for two weeks- so if you want to make him happy, call or email him. Alva Jonathan Taylor <starajt@yahoo.com> Poor Willow’s birthday is Monday, when we’ll be scrambling to get set up.and she won’t have her friends around. As much as we get along and love each other, a mother is not the same as friends, and while you can intellectually say that celebrating before or after is just shifting it to a more convenient time, when you have to work on your birthday, it stinks.

Well, gotta rush, I am hoping to pack my chest, also the chest of art supplies, finish the pottery booklet, bake some shortbread,put another coat of polyurethane on the back steps, get the CTCW website ready to desert for two weeks, send out business cards and posters to other people, so they can promote the con while we’re gone, go through the masters, inventory the booklets, fix the booklet display, (I hope pick up the van so we can pack it tomorrow), do laundry, and then do the podcast this evening at eight (my guest has developed a new deck of Wisdom Cards).Since tomorrow is full as well, I don’t dare push any of that off.
PS. It’s probably worth mentioning, that even as busy as I am, I still am blown away at the sight of a butterfly flitting over the garden, and smile to see a many driving a tractor with a harrow through town. Life is good.

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
Henry David Thoreau

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